Friday 18 July 2014

Parking Lots Are Better

I drove over to one end of a large “Big Box” shopping centre so I could have easy access to the trail system. I was determined to park in a “non-threatening area” (ie, not in a residential area) yet still be able to get to and ride along the river valley trail system. At least that was the plan; Mother Nature had other ideas for my evening.

As I exited work the wind was intense so we had a dust storm; this was my first clue that Geoffie was not riding tonight. The other came after I had parked in that parking lot and while having dinner: the rain started. 

Once the thunderstorm started (but no hail where I was thankfully) I determined that I was not all that terribly dedicated to go biking that night. Riding in heavy wind and rain didn’t sound like fun for me. 

So I sat on my couch and watched the rain as I pondered how to tweak the latest chapter of my Tanea novel.

I was planning to go somewhere else to park for the night but once the rain died down I realized that I was parked in an obscure area of this parking lot and that parking spaces were not in great demand. That was when I said heck with it, I’m staying here tonight. 

As I was settling in for the night, I unwound while sipping on a relaxing drink something else occurred to me. I realized that nobody bugs you in a parking lot. There are no cars and/or big trucks zooming by to shake the trailer. Nobody walks right beside your house and looks at you odd. 

I also realized a few other things on the subject of Parking Lot Camping. Here are a few suggestions that I came up with about finding the right parking lot to camp in. I would discourage someone trying to camp in a parking lot with a tent . . . that might be a bit bold, shall we say.  

For one, don’t pick a small one. Remember that you are staying where you shouldn’t and that those parking spaces are for the customers of the businesses at that location, not for your convenience. If you take up five – ten spaces in some small strip mall you will not only take up an inordinate amount of spaces and give nothing back, but you will likely block out the sight of a business or two from the road, being even ruder. That is why you pick a large lot, as in a shopping centre or some big box retail store. With large shopping malls however, they may have the security guys in a truck to come around and shoo you away.

Next, now that you have found your big box parking lot, make sure that it is at least half empty. If it is crowded, go away and come back when it is less full. Once again, those spaces are for the paying customers, so be considerate and let them have it.

Okay, so we have found our large, half empty parking lot. Next, look around; look for the area that nobody is parking in, it is usually some area far away from the door, or in some other odd/obscure area. That is where you park; go where nobody wants to go. If you have a choice, try to find a spot that is quiet and not right next to the road.

An important thing to remember is make sure that you don’t block anything or anyone in. Once again, be considerate, don’t block the garbage bins in or block some staff member’s car in. Remember, when it comes right down to it, you don’t have a right to be there, so act like a guest.

This falls under the category of  "I shouldn't have to mention it, but I will." No, you can't disconnect from your trailer and stay there for two weeks straight. I only mention it because I have seen it. Camp where you need to but then leave the next morning, preferably before the store opens or shortly thereafter. Go do what you have to do, go to work, see the sights, what have you, but take your trailer with you. if you need to return to the same spot, do so but park in a slightly different spot. Never disconnect from your trailer unless you have to and know that you will be back and gone the next morning.

The final suggestion is that if you have any shopping to do, make sure to patronize the businesses whose parking lot you are currently camped in. You are using their property to sleep for the night, if you happen to be in a grocery store parking lot, would it kill you to buy a few groceries?  

On a personal note, Ace was not charged up by the end of yesterday or this morning. I will measure him and ensure that he is at least charging up, if slowly. I am going on my first road trip to visit a friend, who lives a few hours away, for the weekend. It should be fun. 

On the way I will plug Ace into Trea’s power port (AKA Cigarette lighter), that way, while still using the charge controller, Ace will charge but not from the solar panel. 

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